Now at 10 Suspects and 25 Victims, La Vernia Sexual Assault Case Continues to Grow

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Shortly after Alejandro Ibarra was charged with sexual assault of a minor Wednesday, he went to Facebook to defend himself. As he commented on a San Antonio reporter's post on his arrest: “We are innocent. Watch and see!”

Ibarra, 17, is the tenth La Vernia High School student to be arrested for his alleged involvement in an expansive sexual assault case involving at least 25 younger students. According to arrest documents, Ibarra joined his fellow varsity football teammates, 18-year-old Dustin Norman and 17-year-old Robert Olivarez Jr., in pinning a male student down on a bed and sticking the end of a CO2 air tank in his anus.

A handful of other students have shared similar stories with the police. In some, the CO2 bottle is replace with a baseball bat, or pipe. In every case, the perpetrator is a member of a high school athletic team. La Vernia police Sgt. Donald Keil, the lead investigator on the case, told the La Vernia News that this abuse has gone back at least three and a half years.

To the athletes, it's just "hazing." La Vernia police see it differently.

According to La Vernia Police Chief Bruce Ritchey, the ten students— seven of them minors — are all out on bond awaiting trial, and will definitely not be returning to high school anytime soon. He told the Current that he expects to make more arrests as more students inevitably come forward. He has yet to interview any of the school coaches.

"At the moment, we're only looking at students," Ritchey said. "But that doesn't mean we won't investigate adults later on."

As the case grows, Ritchey has called on support from the Texas Rangers and Wilson County Sheriff's office.

"The more people come forward, the more of this story we're getting," he said. "It's ongoing."


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